Color Field Painting For Kids: Inspired By Alma Thomas

Today’s art project is inspired by Alma Thomas.  Thomas was an African-American Expressionist painter and art educator.  She is best known for her colorful abstract compositions.

As a child, Alma showed interest in art.  She made puppets and sculptures at home and took her first art classes in high school.  She earned her BS in Fine Arts in 1924.

She was the first graduate of her university’s Fine Arts program.  Thomas continued her education and earned her Masters in Art Education from Colombia University in 1934.

She retired from teaching in 1960 and dedicated herself to painting.

Her style of painting included large abstract paintings filled with dense patterns of bright colors that almost mimic a mosaic pattern.

She created Color Field paintings in which the entire focus of the artwork is color and color theory.

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Alma Thomas was an important role model for women, African-American artists, and older artists (she was recognized for her paintings after her retirement from teaching).  She was also the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition of her work at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art.

Resurrection, by Alma Thomas, is the color field painting for kids inspiration for today’s art project.


Fun Fact:  Alma Thomas’, Resurrection, was selected by Michelle Obama to hang in the White House Old Family Dining Room during Black History Month in 2015.

Supplies needed for this project are:

  • Bristol board (or other thick art paper)
  • Acrylic paint (primary colors, purple, white)
  • Palette
  • Water container
  • Small paintbrush
  • X-Acto knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Cork

The first step of this art project is to prepare your paper and your cork.

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This painting best fits in a square composition.  Measure your paper into a square and remove the excess paper with the X-Acto knife (or scissors).

Next, slice four straight lines into the end of the cork to form a square.  Use the knife to remove the cork around the edges to create a square cork “stamp”.

Using a stamp to create this painting will keep the size of each square consistent and create a mosaic-like pattern in the final artwork.

Now it’s time to stamp with paint!

Using your paintbrush mix the color for the center of the design and paint a small circle in the center of the paper.  (If you need help finding the center of the paper, use the ruler to lightly create an X in the center to guide you).

Next, mix the color for the first set of squares surrounding the center circle.  Make enough paint to stamp the cork into the paint several times.

Use your cork “stamp” to surround the center circle with squares of paint.

Repeat this process with each color as you work from the center out.

Stamp with paint until you’ve filled the whole paper with painted squares.  Set aside your artwork and allow it to thoroughly dry.

The results are a beautiful mosaic of bright, pure color.

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About the author

Crystal has worked in the arts and taught drawing and painting for over 25 years in Los Angeles. She loves creating art, gardening, planning fun art projects, and enjoying creative adventures with her family. Find out more at

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